by Barry Dysert
(last updated September 25, 2017)


SyncToy is a small but powerful utility written by Microsoft but not included in Windows. Its purpose is to keep pairs of folders synchronized so that what gets added to one of the folders gets automatically added to the other folder in the pair. You could, therefore, consider SyncToy as a type of backup for files/folders (assuming your pairs of folders are on different drives).

The interface for SyncToy is quite simple. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. SyncToy's startup screen.

From here you can see all of the folder pairs that are being kept in sync and you're also given the option of creating a new folder pair.

You create a new folder pair by clicking the Create New Folder Pair button in the bottom center of the screen. SyncToy immediately presents you with a Wizard that walks you through the process. You have the opportunity to specify the the names of the folders, how you want them synchronized (Synchronize, Echo, or Contribute), and the name of your job. Once the job is created, you can run it to effect the synchronization process or preview what would happen if you did run it.

Another great feature of SyncToy is the ability to run it from the command line. This means you can create a scheduled task to keep your files in sync to within 24 hours. To do this, create a Basic Task whose action is to start a program. The program to start (assuming you install it to its default location) is "C:\Program Files\SyncToy 2.1\SyncToyCmd.exe" and specify the "-R" argument.

SyncToy is a free download. You can find it (and download it) here:

As far as I can tell, SyncToy works only with Windows 7. Microsoft has not (for some reason) provided an updated version that is designed to work with later versions of Windows.

 This tip (12968) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Barry Dysert

Barry has been a computer professional for over 35 years, working in different positions such as technical team leader, project manager, and software developer. He is currently a software engineer with an emphasis on developing custom applications under Microsoft Windows. When not working with Windows or writing Tips, Barry is an amateur writer. His first non-fiction book is titled "A Chronological Commentary of Revelation." ...


How to Encrypt a File or Folder via NTFS

Windows 10 provides two ways to password protect files and folders. One way is to use the Zip utility, as discussed in a ...

Discover More

Setting a Restore Point

Restore Points let you go "back in time" to a point before you made system changes that could prove harmful to your ...

Discover More

Filtering Event Logs

Filtering a log in the Event Viewer allows you quick access to those events you're interested in watching over time. This ...

Discover More
More WindowsTips


AutoHotKeys is a great multi-purpose utility that covers the spectrum from allowing you to define shortcut keys for ...

Discover More


Navigating to favorite files or folders need not be a time waster of click through a tree structure. ConFavor makes this ...

Discover More

Setting an Alarm

By using the alarm capabilities of Windows, you can make sure you never miss another important time again. This tip shows ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] (all 7 characters, in the sequence shown) in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is six more than 2?

2017-09-27 05:43:21

Mike Broadley

I'm finding SyncToy a useful addition to my backing up with Macrium Reflect. I used it on Windows 7, 8.1, and now on Windows 10 without any problems.

2017-09-25 11:38:11


I've run SyncToy on Win10 with no problems

2017-09-25 11:34:33


The Microsoft webpage indicates that this is for Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP.
Is the Microsoft webpage just a few years out of date or might one run into problems in Windows 10?

2017-09-25 09:25:56

David Watts

Synctoy works just fine on Windows 10.

2017-09-25 07:22:46


I successfully use Sync Toy on a PC and Notebook. both with Win 10.

2017-09-25 06:55:28


I have been using SyncToy 2.1 (Version very successfully with Windows 10 Home (my current version is 1703 OS Build 15063.608) for 3 or 4 months now, having hit folder replication problems with my long-time favourite, Karen Replicator.

Karen Replicator stopped replicating folders about 5 or 6 months ago after a Windows update.

SyncToys has its quirks, but it achieves what I want in a back up tooll, now that I'm used to it — but I would still have preferred an updated, fully working Karen Replicator. With the very sad death of Karen some years ago, this is unlikely to happen, I guess.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WindowsTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.